Sunday, June 3, 2012

Balancing the Benefits

Just a short post for now. I will breakdown the weekend later.

Part of that weekend included Dottie's college student coming and riding her. She seems to mostly take her out and hack around the fields. The day she came, I told her that Dottie was very dirty. It rained the night before and she found a nice muddy spot.
I was surprised when a short time later she was already tacking her up. Dottie is a 16h draft cross so there is a lot of body mass to brush. I bit my tongue and kept working.
That evening as I was fly spraying and applying bug balm, I found that Dottie's belly was covered with dirt. She had not touched her belly. Closer inspection found some dirt at the upper part of her neck too. Geez, I do not mind a quick groom. We keep our horses pretty clean. But if I do a quick brush I make sure to groom the places where tack makes contact or are prone to sweat.
So the question is do we address the issue with the girl? She is only here for the summer and Dottie is starting to get into shape.
Most likely we will monitor Dottie closely to make sure she does not get any chafing or sores. It is hard  because she loves to be groomed.
Right now her riding is more beneficial than her lack of grooming is detrimental, so we shall see. We do not micromanage her, but we want to be aware of what is happening with Dottie.


  1. Try "the sandwich": place your criticism in the middle of two positive comments.

    ex. "Hey (name), you are doing such a great job with Dottie so far. She is looking so much more fit than she did just a few weeks ago. She is getting really dirty with all the mud though, so would you mind cleaning her up a bit more before you ride? I'm just worried that the caked-on mud is going to irritate her skin under the tack."

    Then she will probably say, "Oh, sure" or "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize!" if she is a reasonable person. Then figure out some other positive comment, or ask her what she's planning to work on with Dottie that day just to continue the conversation.

    If she doesn't want to recognize her mistake, though, firmly remind her that in your barn, you always have the horses at a certain level of cleanliness before riding, and if she wants to ride your horses she has to keep up that standard.

    Hopefully it works out. But I'd definitely recommend saying something, even if it feels awkward. She might not even know she is doing something wrong if you don't tell her. I would definitely not consider this micromanaging since I have never been at a barn where not grooming before riding was acceptable.

    1. Thanks, Carla. I know my old instructors would have sent me back to the barn if my horse was not groomed well.
      When next we see her we will talk to her. I guess that is the difference between a rider and a horse person.